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Poll: What uncommon fruits or vegetables do you grow?  RSS feed

 
MJ Solaro
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
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I'm interested in what unusual edibles everybody around here grows. What do you have growing that might be considered uncommon for the area?

In my small Seattle urban garden, I really only have two uncommon plants: my olive trees (which are fruiting!) and some bok choy, which is probably more common than I'd like to believe.

Let's hear about your stuff!  Oh, and tell us where you got the seeds!
 
                    
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Well, it could be said that the most uncommon fruit we all grow is the mind and the most uncommon vegetable we all grow is the body and that they both come from seeds, of a sort.

Minds flower themselves unless that flowering is interrupted by the picking for its selling points and then the fruits and vegetables of our labors never appear to sustain us all. Produce ripens itself unless infected with blight.

We are all blessed with our own gifted minds to think independently and to make choices, as individuals, within our chosen groups. When we duplicate mind for the purpose of self-enhancement we lose the entire concept...

But I digress. All seeds come from the earth, in one way or another, and so do we...we remain largely uncatalogued, let's leave it that way...

If we respect those seeds within first we find that we come to respect those seeds outside of us (which are inside someone or something else) more easily. The growth of one affects the growth of the other...we are all reliant on this earth to grow even cultivated seeds for us. So respect for ourselves leads to respect for others which leads to recognition of all the individuals of this earth - be they plant or animal or human or mineral - and the earth likes to be recognized so that it in turns repays us with respect given back in the form of edible food, breathable air and drinkable water and the surface upon which to exist...interconnectedness includes individual self as long we all have bodies. We do not live on fruit alone...




 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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There are a ton of unusual edibles for the Seattle area. I recommend checking out:

http://www.onegreenworld.com/
http://www.burntridgenursery.com
http://www.raintreenursery.com/

In addition, here are a few others that I'm really excited about:

-Gevuina avenalla (Chilean Hazel) - It is a cold hardy macadamia nut relative! They're also quite aesthetically pleasing (small tree).
-Araucaria angustifolia (Parana) - This is a Monkey Puzzle relative from Brazil that someone is growing in Poulsbo. For those that don't know monkey puzzles bear edible nuts that are quite good. These do too.
-Butia capitata (Jelly Palm) - This palm is borderline here and would need some protection during winter (especially while young). They produce big inflorescences of edible fruits (often used for jelly).
-Cratageus aestivalus (Mayhaw) - This is a species of hawthorn from the SE US that produces a yummy fruit. They're tart, but good and they produce in early summer right after the first flush of strawberries finishes. Yum!
-Perilla frutescens (Shizo) - If you're looking for annuals this is a great one commonly used in Japanese cooking. Try an ume shizo roll sometime!

That's just the tip of the ice berg (literally about 1-2%). There are tons more out there.

Good luck!

Dave
 
Kelda Miller
Posts: 769
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A Good Question:
Though by themselves not too unusual I'm working on some interesting projects:

1) a perennial salad bed. reseeding greens plus chickweed, fava beans (for the leaves), and perennial onions. So far, so good, salad harvest every week no matter the season.

2) northwest natives as crops. these haven't really gotten going yet, but i've got salmonberry, american cranberry, roses (for hips), etc. The list is endless. I'm trying to find that interesting edge between domestication/increased production and wild-crafting. Also I have some oregon oaks and camas, but they, like salmon, may at this point be too precious to eat.


Maybe at some point I'll move the native discussion to its own topic. It so fascinates me. I don't really geek out on exotics as I'm thrilled at all the possibilities with native plants.
 
MJ Solaro
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
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I was wandering around one of the sites that Dave recommended, and noticed that Monkey Puzzle trees, which are all over the Pac Northwest, are nut bearing trees. I didn't know that!

Do any of you have Monkey Puzzle trees? Have you tried the nuts? What do they taste like?
http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=2_75
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Story time!

Once someone put three monkey puzzle nuts in my hand. I immediately cracked one open and ate it raw (at this point I don't remember the specifics, but it tasted pretty good). I decided that I would roast the other two to see how they tasted that way (I've always liked my nuts better roasted than raw). Just then someone called me and I walked away from the counter in our outdoor kitchen. When I came back I found the shells waiting for me with little squirrel footprints all around. It was that day that I learned the true meaning of sadness.

However, fear not! There are places in Western Washington where there exist clusters of monkey puzzles that set seeds. Hopefully, we'll be one of those places one day. We have about 30 monkey puzzles in our nursery that are waiting to get in the ground.

Also, an interesting item...I found a website where you can get Paranas here in Washington! Check out: http://www.angelfire.com/bc/eucalyptus/desertnorthwest/. I just bought ten to try up on Orcas. The owner of the nursery said that he's had one in the ground in Olympia since 1996, which means it has survived some pretty gnarly winter storms (seems to be hardy here). He also carries a couple other interesting items worth trying here (particularly Luma apiculata & Luma chuquen...both of which are guava relatives...see what ALJ has to say about them at http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-Dec06.html).

One other item of interest...if you want a weird fruit to amaze your friends and neighbors try Blue Sausage Fruit (Decaisnea fargesii). Here's a couple pics. Enjoy!
xdecaisnea_fargesii.jpg
[Thumbnail for xdecaisnea_fargesii.jpg]
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